Ellen Lindner – Melbourne, Florida, USA
Living in Florida, I’m surrounded by inspiration. Vivid colors, dark shadows, and strong contrasts are abundant in the tropical vegetation all around me. It’s thrilling for me to capture this drama in my fabric collages!
My materials include anything I can sew through: paper, plastic, window screening, beads, and a wide variety of fabrics. I borrow techniques from traditional quilt making, but in a very updated and freeform collage style.
A self-taught artist, I didn’t realize I could create art until I was in my forties. How exhilarating! Reading, observing, and trial and error were my teachers, as I explored this new arena. Today, I continue to play and experiment, finding these to be vital components of my artistic adventures.
(Click images to enlarge)
SAQA: When did you begin making art with fabric? Do you work in other media as well?LINDNER: Although I started making quilts in 1983, I didn’t make my first art quilt until 2000. (I define an art quilt as one the maker has designed.) Fabric is my only medium, although it occasionally gets an assist from paint or other art products.
SAQA: Have any artists or art movements influenced your work?
LINDNER: I’m especially impressed with the work of Ruth McDowell. Her work with prints has made me more courageous in my own use of them.
SAQA: What techniques and materials do you use?
LINDNER: Raw edge collage is my technique of choice. Starting with a muslin base on my design wall, I cut and place cotton fabrics to create a composition, often cutting organic objects with a purposely jagged edge. I lightly glue the design pieces to the muslin and move the whole thing to the batting. (i.e. I don’t create a quilt top first.) I quilt without a backing fabric, securing all the design pieces. Finally, I add a full “pillowcase” facing which finishes the edges and covers the back. If I plan well, I can add the label and sleeve to the facing before adding it to the quilt, so I never have to do any hand stitching.
SAQA: Where do you create?
LINDNER: I have a small home studio, designed to be a bedroom. It’s right off the kitchen so I can still be in on all the family action.
SAQA: How do you reconcile the art-making and business sides of your creative life?
LINDNER: I spend a lot of time on the business side of things, but I don’t really mind it. It’s necessary to selling myself as a teacher and author, and also to selling my work. I believe everything supports everything else and I try to be very professional in all my endeavors. That includes updating my website, making art, and giving free presentations to third graders.
SAQA: What are you working on now? What’s next?
LINDNER: (Chuckle.) I’m finishing up one of those “it sounded like a good idea at the time” projects. I wanted to create an abstract view of the Pacific coast, as seen from the Pacific Coast Highway. The piece is coming along nicely, but the technique I selected to add energy (i.e. tiny strips) took WAY longer than I anticipated.
Next will be something with MUCH less planning! I’m itching to cut and place fabrics again, in my usual way. My subject is yet to be determined, but I’m sure it will be something with a lot of artistic latitude. Maybe a rooster with polka-dot tail feathers?